Discrimination Against Drug Users

The stigma associated with drug use and addiction has manifested itself in discriminatory policies that exclude people who use drugs or have drug convictions from many of the rights and opportunities many Americans take for granted.  Although drug use and addiction pervade all categories of race, gender, class, and age, sensationalized media coverage of drug use has resulted in a popular but inhuman caricature of the typical drug user or addict.  Pervasive media portrayals that demonize people who use drugs have spawned policies that systematically discriminate against drug users.  The taboo associated with drug use is so widespread that even many people who support drug policy reform hold negative assumptions about people whose drug use they consider abusive.  One of DPA’s highest priorities is to end discrimination against all drug users by reducing the stigma associated with drug use and advocating compassionate, judgment-free approaches to addiction and incarceration.